Brand Background: The Story of Clinique

Clinique was one of the first department store brands to take an individual, tailored approach to skincare. The idea that great skin started with great skincare was a novel idea, as strange to us as that sounds. But here’s the thing - did you know that Clinique might never have been created if not for Estée Lauder? 

Yes, these two companies technically share origins - here’s how Clinique was created as an offshoot of the greater Estée Lauder company. 

Family Ties

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense jar held in hand

Credit: Clinique/Instagram

Starting the Clinique brand all starts with Evelyn Lauder. Evelyn was Estée Lauder’s daughter-in-law, and began working at The Estee Lauder Company with her husband Leonard Lauder. 

While there was no doubt that Estée Lauder (among other brands) was creating some of the best skincare on the market, there was still a gap. There wasn’t any skincare focused on delivering what skin really needed - just what consumers wanted. Evelyn noticed this, and proposed that a new brand was formed under the Estée Lauder umbrella.

In 1968, Clinique was formed. This was a brand tailored to the needs of skin, rather than setting following trends - a game changer. Evelyn Lauder collaborated with dermatologist Dr Norman Orentreich to create scientifically-sound skincare, starting with a basic three step routine: cleanse, exfoliate, and moisturise.

A three-step line was created for each skin type; every single product was tailored to a skin type and a specific outcome. By bringing a more scientific point of view to skincare, Clinique brought a new angle to beauty. They were one of the first brands to create products that were fragrance-free and allergy-tested, too. 

You could say that Clinique set the standard for skincare for sensitive skin - no other brands at the time actively tried to minimise scents and potential irritants in skincare.

Clinique launched in department stores across the country, and soon enough sales were booming at counters managed by skin advisors sporting white lab coats - something that would define the brand as the years went by. Clinique has recently named Emilia Clarke as their first global brand ambassador, too - if Clinique’s good enough for the Queen of Dragons, then it’s good enough for me!

Emilia Clark and Clinique products

Credit: Emilia_Clarke/Instagram

Evelyn Lauder & Activism

Evelyn Lauder did more than just create great skincare, though. She single-handedly created a movement and an association that has reached all corners of the globe. Have you ever wondered why we associate the colour link with Breast Cancer Awareness? We have Evelyn Lauder to thank for that.  

Did you know that she’s the reason why we use the pink ribbon as a symbol for Breast Cancer Awareness? I didn’t either, but it’s incredibly impressive - Lauder founded the Breast Cancer Research Foundation and subsequently raised hundreds of millions of dollars for Breast Cancer awareness and research, leaving behind a legacy that’s changed millions of lives around the world. 

Today, Clinique still carries an innovative spirit, creating the best in allergen-free, effective skincare and cosmetics that work for skin, instead of the other way around. Evelyn Lauder’s lasting legacy can be felt in her brand, and in her work as a Breast Cancer awareness activist. 

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense product image on white background

Clinique Moisture Surge Intense | $65
A nourishing moisturiser that fortifies skin from within, using ingredients like squalane and hyaluronic acid. 

Need some help putting together the best skincare routine for your skin type? Try our skin quiz!

Beauty Affairs Skin Quiz Image

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